Fire Department News

Fire Department News

Underground conduits are being laid to run into the rear of the fire headquarters at Augusta, Ga.

After six years as chief of Mason City, Ia., fire department, Chief Thomas Connor has tendered his resignation.

A convention under the auspices of the Cumberland Valley Firemen’s Association will he held at Waynesboro, Pa., June 4, 5 and 6. Between $2,000 and $2,500 will be given in prizes.

The Media, Pa., fire company requests that the State firemen’s convention in 1913 may he held in Media. No convention of firemen has been hehl there since its incorporation as a borough in 1850.

The fire department committee recommends that the request of Chief Runge, of Grand Forks. N. D., for the purchase of an aerial truck, and 500 feet of hose he considered in the next appropriation.

Buffalo Meter Company, 290 Terrace. Buffalo, N. Y., detailing the merits of this most excellent water measurer. The thousands.of Buffalo meters in use is sufficient attestation of their practicability.

Megaphones for fire service are soon to be placed in Minneapolis. Minn. Several stations will be connected and when a still alarm reaches Operator M. Q Brown at fire headquarters he will connect with the megaphone, and shout through the fire houses: “Attention department. 999 Hennepin avenue,” etc.

An ordinance was recently passed by Chicago requiring an automatic shutoff in all buildings except private residences, which are illuminating gas. The law provided that owners “must equip building so that gas may be shut out in case of fire,” within 30 days after notification, or they may be fined. Fire Marshal Charles F. Seyferlich has issued a statement that property, owners are not generally complying with the law.

The fire commissioners of San Francisco, Cal., approve of the estimates by Chief Murphy. The total sum asked of the supervisors will be $156.145.25. Among his estimates are: Underground system, $54,231.57; overhead fire alarm, 88,802.90; new central fire alarm station and equipment. $130,090. The board of supervisors has also been asked to appropriate $70,290 for firemen’s pensions, and $12,000 additional to cover the average annual increase.

The annual convention of the New York Association of Fire Chiefs, which was to have been held in Albany, June 18 and 19, has been postponed until June 20 and 21. Chief Bridgeford stated that he had received word from Chief Gates, secretary of the association, that numerous chiefs wished to attend the Knight Templar conclave in Elmira on June 18 and 19, and if Chief Bridgeford was willing the convention might be held the 20th and 21st.

Chief Searles of Pana, Ill., recently explained the disadvantage tinder which the fire service was placed by having no team ready to attach to the hose wagon in case of alarm. A petition presented stated that the members had on hand money to purchase a team to be used exclusively for fire service, and were willing,to do this, provided the city will make provision to house and maintain the team. The proposal was discussed and submitted for recommendations and estimates.

Fire Commissioner Randall, of Omaha, Neb., is receiving replies to letters which he sent broadcast over the State, seeking information as to the way gasoline is being handled in the various towns. The letters were sent to the city marshals or chiefs of police of each town. There are 17,000 oil dealers in the State, according to Mr. Randall, and a large per cent, of them, he believes, need existing laws called to their attention so that they will handle gasoline with more care.

Recent fire losses in Walla Walla, Wash., caused the fire insurance companies to investigate; and although Charles P. Brant, manager of the rating bureau, spoke of work done by Chief Metz in highest praise, he reports that the fire department is inadequate. There is need of more men; and Chief Mitz should be relieved of outside work, that he may have more time to apply to the fire service. There are only 16 men in the department. The insurance companies are talking of raising rates.

The gross fire loss for the past five years, as given in the reports of the chief of the Springfield, O., fire department, amounted to $290,921; the annual losses vary from $40,259 in 1910 to $120,800 in 1907, and the number of fires from 117 in 1907 to 150 in 1908. The average loss per fire was $420, a moderate figure, and the average yearly number of fires 138. The average yearly number of fires per 1,000 population, based on an estimated average of 46,000, was 3, and the annual loss per capita was $1.26, both low figures.

Sheridan, Wyo., has a new bell. It weighs 2,200 pounds, is 46 inches in diameter and four and a half feet high. It will rest on the roof of the City Hall, at a point where it is supported by the heavy walls of the vault, which reach from the basement to the rafters. While the striker is operated by electricity, the striking is done by clockwork actuated by heavy weights, and the clockwork is wound up the same as a clock. The weights used to run the striker weigh 1,400 pounds, but the wheels and levers are so arranged that the winding is easily accomplished.

The Board of Fire Commissioners of San Francisco has decided to abolish all specifications, except as to couplings, in the call for bids on $20,000 feet of fire hose. Seven representatives from various manufacturers were present, and it was at their solicitation that the specifications as to texture of fiber, weave and other points of workmanship were done away with. Hereafter bids will be submitted to the board, together with samples of hose, and the commissioners will use their discretion as to the hose to be purchased A vigorous protest was made by the manufacturers represented against the board’s action in retaining the initial, biennial and triennial tests of hose. Heretofore the hose has been bought with the guarantee that it stand a 400-pound pressure at the start, a 300-pound pressure after the second year of service and a 200-pound pressure after three years. The manufacturers sought to abolish this test, but on the urgent advice of Chief Thomas Murphy the board refused to make any change.



The estimated losses by fire in the United States and Canada, reported for the week ending April 10, amounted to $3,042,000.

Waco, Tex., has been selected for the 1911 meeting of the Texas State Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

The bill to increase the salaries of city firemen in St. Louis, Mo., has been defeated in the city council by a vote of 6 to 7.

The town of Provincetown, Mass., has awarded contract to the International Power Company, Providence, K. I., to rebuild one of their third size Amoskeag engines.

Through misunderstanding of a fire alarm call, truck No. 1 and No. 5 automobile chemical engine of the Spokane, Wash., fire department, collided. seriously damaging the truck and putting the chemical automobile out of commission.

Members of the Knoxville, Tenn., fire and police departments have just received their salaries for the two months ending March 23. They were held up because Mayor Heiskell refused to sign salary warrants under the new budget providing the graduated salary plan.

Contracts for two Jumbo motor engines, built by the Robinson Fire Apparatus Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, have been made by V. A. Martin, agent of the company at Los Angeles, for I .os Angeles and Long Beach, Cal. It is stated that these are the first lire automobiles purchased on the coast.

The senate at Trenton, N. J., took but a minute recently to pass Senator Leavitt’s bill providing in the future that all municipalities shall have full power to regulate the pay of its policemen and firemen. The bill gives the Board of Finance in each city the right to fix the rate of pay subject to a referendum by the people.

The Anderson Coupling and Fire Supply Company of Kansas City, Kan., has just issued Catalogue No. 10, which is profusely illustrated with the products of their factory. There are 125 pages, which aside from the illustrations contain descriptions and price-lists, which make the catalogue a valuable possession to every fire department.

Twenty-five new probationers started the second term of the New York Fire College at Fire Headquarters under Chief Larkin last week. They attend the school in the morning, and afternoon and at night are sent to various engine and hook and ladder houses. Fifty officers also started their second term in training for advancement.

Col. George W. Reif, commander of the Second regiment, National Guard of Montana, and also city clerk and chief of police of Virginia City, has been appointed to the office of state fire marshal. The appointment became effective April 6. The office was created by the last legislature and the salary of the fire marshal is paid by the fire insurance companies.

Acting Fourth Assistant Fire Marshal Edward J. Buckley is at the head of the list of battalion chiefs who took the civil service examination for permanent appointment to the positions of third and fourth assistant marshals in the Chicago fire department. The position of fifth assistant, recently created by the city council, will be filled from the list of those who passed.

At the investigation into the fatal fire in the Aseh building. New York, Captain Ruch, of Engine Company No. 18, said that a person weighing 150 pounds jumping from a tenth floor would strike a life net with a force equal to 1,100 pounds, and that when three persons jumping from such a height struck a life net together, no net was strong enough to hold them up.

The St. Louis, Mo., Fire Prevention Bureau has indorsed Fire Chief Swingley for reappointment. Members of the-Executive Committee of the bureau called on Mayor Kreismann and presented the indorsement. The term of the fire chief expires next month. Chief Swingley has had the unfailing indorsement of the fire insurance organizations ever since he was in office.

Rockford, I11., firemen arc to have practical training during the coming summer in the Chicago fire department. Arrangements have been entered into with Chief Charles F. Seyferlich of the fire department to have Rockford firemen spend several weeks there. They will be placed as regular members of companies in the loop district in Chicago, where the companies are constantly on the run

Increases of 10 per cent, in salaries for captains, engineers, first, second and third grade firemen and alarm operators, and 15 per cent, for lieutenants of the Kansas City, Mo., fire department, were requested of the fire and water hoard at a recent meeting. It would increase the pay rolls $55,000 annually. The salaries now paid are: Captains, $100 a month; lieutenants, $90; engineers, $95; first grade firemen, $85; second, $80; third, $70; operators, $85.

At a recent session of the New York Board of Aldermen a resolution calling for the introduction of a dry-pipe system in all new subways, with standpipe and street connections every 200 feet, was introduced by Alderman Schloss. He declared that a fire such as that which occurred in the Lenox avenue branch in 1908, when two cars were burned, before the Fire Department could stretch hose and get water, may at any time be repeated with a heavy loss of life, as it is impossible for the Fire Department to work effectively under existing conditions.

bearing fires in the spring months the fire commissioners of YVeaverville, Cal., will make a thorough inspection of all buildings in the fire district. The object is to detect and correct cases where the fire ordinances and regulations are not observed. Fire records show that spring is the time when fires from defective flues and sparks from chimneys are most numerous. This is due to the sudden drying of the roofs and the accumulation of soot in the flues, Fire Chief Barnickel will call a drill for the purpose of dividing the fire department into squads for the inspection of the buildings and chimneys. Each squad will be assigned to a certain district.

Flames which swept the three-story building at Pratt and Sharp streets, Baltimore, Md., occupied by the Hopkins Tailoring Company, sent the twenty-five employes of the establishment crawling across a narrow ledge to the next building to safety, and threw 200 girls, working on the third floor of a shirtwaist and kimono plant, several doors away, into a panic. Controlled by cooler heads, however, the girls quieted down and made their way by the stairways and fire escapes to the street. The loss was estimated to exceed $20,000. Chief Geo. W. Horton was taken sick at the fire and had to be removed to his home in an automobile.

Fire completely destroyed the grand-stand, sheds over the betting ring and paddock at the West Tampa race course at West Tampa, Fla., about midnight March 30. Being out of the city limits of Tampa, and also West Tampa, aid from fire departments was not at hand. That the fire was of incendiary origin is without doubt in the minds of the state fair officials. A negro watchman resigned prior to the fire because he said an attempt had been made to burn the plant out the night before. Oil was discovered in the secretary’s office, where the fire had been started, but which was smothered out. The plant was insured for about half its value. The loss will approximate $50,000.

While Chicago’s building inspectors and the fire marshal were making a close inspection of dangerous structures with a view of eliminating the possibility of a factory fire horror such as occurred in New York recently, Representative E. J. Smejkal prepared and sent to the legislature a bill which, if adopted, practically will abolish the storing of combustible materials in quarters higher than fifty feet above the street level. Part of the bill is as follows: “It shall be unlawful hereafter to produce, create, manufacture or work any material of a combustible nature in any building or cause the same to be done at a greater height than fifty feet above the established grade of the street adjoining or ground surrounding the building.”

The two-platoon bill, backed by the Chicago Firemen’s Association, has passed the house of the state legislature at Springfield by a vote of 108 to 8. The bill was disguised by being made to read that it regulated the hours of labor of employes for cities of more than 100,000. It provides that city employes shall not be compelled to work more than ten hours in the daytime or fourteen hours at night. The measure was introduced by Representative Thomas Curren of Chicago, who said it was done at the request of the firemen. If the bill passes the senate and is signed it is contended that it automatically will create the two-platoon system which many of the firemen have been fighting for since Mayor Dunne tried the experiment.

Fire Commisioner Waldo, of New York City, has appointed a special board to consider and recommend to the commissioner the advisability of establishing new fire companies. The board consists of Deputy Chiefs Thomas Lally of Brooklyn, as president of the board, and Thomas J. Ahearn of the Bronx, John J. Burns of Manhattan. Frederick W. Gooderson of Queens, and William T. Beggin of the Borough of Richmond. The board will recommend such new companies as may, in its opinion, be required within the next two years to insure the proper protection of newly built portions of the city, and in order of necessity, the buildings of the department which require extensive repairs or alterations. The board will recommend to the commissioner what apparatus, hose and appliances will be required during the same period to maintain the department at its proper efficiency.

New York’s marine fire-fighters protect 247 miles of water front. The value of property along this shore line exceeds $500,000,000. It is estimated that a fire extending from the Battery to Twentieth street alone, on Manhattan Island, if unchecked, would pipe out all insurance companies in the world. The fleet which stands guard at present consists of eleven fire boats in regular service, varying from 08 to 131 feet in length. The smallest of these boats is capable of throwing 5,000 gallons of water a minute and the larger 12,000 gallons per minute. Two new turbine fire boats are soon to be added, each capable of throwing 15,000 gallons of water per minute. In addition to New York’s water front there are some fifteen miles of shore line on the New Jersey side, opposite the city, wholly without protection except for the assistance of New York fire boats. The marine branch of the tire department is maintained for about $500,000 a year.

F’or the purpose of making a personal inspection of the destruction of the state capitol’s western wing, Deputy Fire Commissioner A. J. O’Keefe of Brooklyn made a quick trip to Albany. After going through the building from top to bottom he expressed the opinion that the only thing which saved the entire structure was the fire wall plan, which divides the building into three parts. Mr. O’Keefe wanted to determine just how a building of solid masonry, which has been regarded as a model fireproof structure, could be destroyed so quickly. “The firemen, to my mind,” said the Commissioner, “did splendid work, considering the paucity of their apparatus and the manifold difficulties which confronted them. They were forced to work under a shower of falling stone and terra cotta tile from the roof, which was extremely hazardous. Moreover, they were handicapped by the fact that the fire had gained great headway before they arrived on the scene.”

Aldermen of the Toronto, Ont., council have recommended the following increases in salaries for members of the fire department: Chief Thompson, from $5,500 to $4,000 per annum; Deputy Chief Noble, from $2,500 to $3,000; Secretary McGowan, from $2,500 to $3,000. The following scale for the department was suggested: District chiefs to commence at $1,700 per annum, with annual increases of $50 until a maximum of $2,000 be reached; captains to commence at $1,400, with annual increases of $50 and maximum of $1,600; lieutenants to commence at $1,100, with annual increase of $50, and maximum of $1,300; engineers of engines to have the same rank and pay as lieutenants; chief engineer of engines to commence at $1,400, with annual increase of $50, and maximum of $1,600. Firemen to commence at $750 per annum and be increased $100 annually until a maximum of $1,000 be reached; assistant engineers of engines to have same rank and pay as firemen.

Only about one-fifth of the members of the Milwaukee fire department are Irish or of Irish descent, according to Chief Thomas Clancy. Reporters were chaffing the chief on St. Patrick’s day about the green ribbon he didn’t wear. One of the reporters remarked that most of the fire fighters were Irish. “That is where you are mistaken,” replied the chief. “I see by the paoers that the fire department will celebrate St. Patrick’s day in force. Do you know that out of 550 men enrolled in this department only 155 are Irish or of Irish descent. In the district south of Greenfield avenue there are but ten men of Irish descent. The Polish and Germans are entering the department in large numbers. The downtown houses, however, are peopled almost entirely by descendants of the Emerald Isle.”